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Philly Middle Eastern BYOB?

Hello! Please help. My mother-in-law is coming to town and she would like Middle Eastern food. Can anyone recommend a Middle Eastern BYOB in Philly? Any style such as Lebanese, Moroccan, Persian would be great.

The main things are that the atmosphere/decor is interesting and that it is moderately/low priced. I checked the boards and found Cedars to be one recommendation, and the price looked great but couldn't get a handle on the atmosphere.


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  1. I don't know about Cedars, but I really liked Divan Turkish Kitchen the one time I was there. I was more focused on the food than the decor, but the atmosphere was pleasant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: vicarious

      Here's another vote for Divan. We have been there twice, both times with other people, and everyone really enjoyed it.
      They take reservations. I would ask not to be seated in the smaller entrance room, since it is noisier and people have to keep moving through to get to the main room.
      There's not much ambience, but the food makes up for it. All the lamb dishes were delicious, as were the dishes with yogurt. I had a spinach and yogurt dish that I loved.
      Their baklava was a great dessert.
      Divan is at 22nd and Carpenter; street parking, not expensive.

      1. re: vicarious

        Divan is an excellent choice, but it is no longer a BYOB.

      2. I really love Alyan's, on 4th just south of South St., but they definitely do NOT have the atmosphere you are looking for. Divan is OK, I wasn't particularly impressed but that was when they first opened, maybe it's improved. I have heard that they have a liquor license now, but still allow BYO.

        Cedars is not quite as good as Alyan's in my opinion, but is a bit more refined dining experience.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Buckethead

          Marrakesh could be a great experience (moroccan), and i believe you can byo there.. but it's more fun with larger groups. I really love Figs for middle eastern food, and Audrey Claire has wonderful mediterranean food (not quite middle eastern though). Dmitri's has amazing Greek food (and seafood), and I've also heard wonderful things about Effie's.

        2. Cedars is by far one of the best Lebanese Rest in the city not BYOB

          1. Another option is Persian Grill in Lafayette Hill on Germantown Pike. Good food and atomosphere.
            Marrakesh would be fun and different (depends if you want fun with your in laws) Though it is price fixed which keeps the costs down.

            1. We love Cedars, but it isn't BYOB. Service is very accomodating. Atmosphere is casual, white tablecloth type, Middle Eastern music. The best dessert is the honey cake.

              1. There is an Afghan place, "Kabul", near the bottom end of 2nd. The decor is the usual foreign restaurant type, food is really good, and I think you could reserve ahead for the window fancy sit on pillows type table. .... oooh, I just checked their website and they have a coupon too.

                3 Replies
                1. re: mymagoogle

                  kabul is tasty! i've been there twice. love the window table, though they denied me the table on my second visit. :(

                  1. re: rabidog

                    If you find yourself on the Main Line, either for lunch or dinner, Mediterranean Grill in Bryn Mawr would fit the bill nicely.

                  2. re: mymagoogle

                    i was going to recommend kabul too! mmmm....very good lamb and vegetarian dishes, though afghani food is not quite normal middle eastern cuisine.

                  3. Sansom Street Kabob House (betw 15/16) is Afghani and pretty good

                    1. I like Cedars a lot. Been going there for a very long time and it never disappoints me. But, of course, not BYOB. Kabul is also good food.

                      1. Definitely Kabul, on Chestnut between 2nd and Front. Their food is consistently great and the decor will keep your eyes interested. The prices are very reasonable and the portions are good, plus if you stop by the Ritz to get a playbill on your way there, usually there is a coupon for Kabul in the back someplace.